Evangelicals burn madonna

Chile’s bishops’ conference (CEC) has expressed its sadness at the public burning of a statue of the Virgin by a radical evangelical group, Owain Johnson reports.

The Warriors of David, a dissident Baptist group based in southern Chile, burned a statue of the Virgin of Carmen during a festival in the town of Alto Hospicio. They said the statue was an idol and that the festival was a pagan event.

The CEC’s secretary-general, Bishop Camilo Vial of Temuco, said the desecration was a sad day for the Church in Chile. “A sacrilege like that touches us extremely deeply”, he said. “But I have prayed that the Lord touches their hearts and I have forgiven them.” The bishop said Chileans should be careful not to judge all evangelicals by the actions of a small minority.

Chile’s Committee of Evangelical Associations immediately condemned the Warriors of David for their “act of vandalism”. The president of the Protestant Metropolitan Council, the Revd Emiliano Soto, agreed. “Their theology is seriously warped and they need investigating”, he said. VBut the leader of the Warriors, Carlos Adams, defended the action, which he said would be repeated. “We are proud of what we did because these images are a curse”, he said, adding that the images “explain why there is so much drug abuse and death and so many broken families in this country”.